Phoenix Rising FC debuted a few of the club’s newest signings in a 2-2 draw with Grand Canyon University’s men’s soccer team. Unlike its first preseason match of the season, Phoenix Rising FC started the match with 11 signed players on the pitch who played the first 30 minutes.
“We have still a lot of work to do in the next three or four weeks getting ready for our home opener,” said Phoenix Rising FC head coach Frank Yallop. “We could be creative and create some good chances. We just need to be a better unit as a team.”
Forward Omar Bravo, midfielders Shaun Wright-Phillips, Allesandro Riggi, Matt Watson, Jason Johnson, defender J.J. Greer Jr. and goalkeeper Josh Cohen made their Phoenix Rising FC debuts in front of a boisterous crowd at GCU Soccer Stadium.
“It was incredible,” Bravo said. “I was surprised with the support of the people and the fans. I understand many of them are Chivas fans, but I hope that they can also become fans of this team. And that they keep supporting us throughout the season.”
Added Wright-Phillips: “Amazing spirit and hopefully they pack our stadium with the same amount of noise and hopefully we do them proud.”
In a match with three 30-minute frames, the starting XI played to a 0-0 draw after the first 30 minutes before several starters were subbed off. The Lopes took a lead in the 36th minute when Wedner Delmonte found the upper left corner of the net. Another goal didn’t come until the 58th minute after GCU’s Daniel Moreno buried a cross from teammate Jordan Slack to make it 2-0.
But Phoenix Rising FC clawed its way back into the match after earning two penalties. The first goal came in the 60th minute off a blocked penalty kick rebound. The second came in the 69th minute when Mike Seth found the back of the net to tie the match 2-2.
“Once we started playing we created a few chances,” Yallop said. “Once we got in our rhythm a little bit in the final third, we really created some nice chances. The last thing to come when you are a new team is (chemistry).”
Phoenix Rising FC will play its second and final preseason match in Arizona on Friday, March 17, at GCU Soccer Stadium in a rematch with GCU men’s soccer. The match will kickoff at 7 p.m. and admission will be free to the public.